Belfast Telegraph

Editor's Viewpoint: Some see New Year's Honours as archaic, but they are deserved reward for those who've made a contribution

A significant number of people regard the honours system as an outdated ritual, but that is to deny the genuine pride and joy that so many recipients feel, especially those whose work rarely if ever makes the headlines. (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
A significant number of people regard the honours system as an outdated ritual, but that is to deny the genuine pride and joy that so many recipients feel, especially those whose work rarely if ever makes the headlines. (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Editor's Viewpoint

A significant number of people regard the honours system as an outdated ritual, but that is to deny the genuine pride and joy that so many recipients feel, especially those whose work rarely if ever makes the headlines. For them, it is a recognition of what they have contributed to society and for which they never expected any honour.

Of course there is the usual list of senior government officials and those in associated agencies who are usually in line for honours, but this New Year's Honours list in Northern Ireland contains a wide cross-section of society.

For singer-songwriter Gary Lightbody, his OBE for services to music and charity is a bittersweet honour, coming as it does just days after the death of his beloved father, who was buried on Christmas Eve. However, the singer will be able to share his special day at Buckingham Palace with his mother, an event he is really looking forward to.

Other celebrated singers, The Priests, who have previously met the Queen, each receive an MBE, a fitting tribute to their singing but, more importantly, their outreach through performing to diverse audiences of different faiths and none throughout the world.

Two other clerics, Fr Kevin Mullan, for his peacemaking work, and Fr Stephen McBrearty, for his chaplaincy work within the Prison Service, also receive awards.

On the sporting front, Irish-born cricketer Eoin Morgan, who led England to the one day world championship; Michael McKillop, the multi-gold medal winning Paralympic athlete, and long-standing Northern Ireland international footballer Aaron Hughes receive awards for their outstanding contributions to their sports as well as outstanding ambassadors for this island.

For every person on the list, their honours are a stamp of approval for what they have done and how they have affected the lives of those they came in contact with. It may be an archaic system, but which other one can pay tribute to such diverse and deserving recipients?

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